- A Trump administration official has told The Washington Post that the White House has been unable to find any record of the September 9 call between President Donald Trump and the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.
- Both men have said that during the call Trump told Sondland he sought “no quid pro quo” and wanted “nothing” from Ukraine.
- Trump has used the call in his impeachment defense, repeating some of what Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee.
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The White House has been unable to find any record of the September 9 phone call in which President Donald Trump is thought to have told the US ambassador to the European Union that there was “no quid pro quo” with Ukraine and that he wanted “nothing” from the country, according to a report from The Washington Post.
An administration official told The Post that White House staff had searched switchboards at the president’s official residence on that date and found no record of the call, and no witnesses or documents have emerged to corroborate the accounts of Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland of the call.
Trump has seized on the call as evidence that he was not trying to benefit personally from his dealings with Ukraine.
On the day Sondland described the call to House impeachment investigators, Trump held a briefing with reporters in which he read from a hand-written note some of what Sondland recalled Trump telling him.
“This is Ambassador Sondland speaking to me,” Trump told reporters last week. “Here’s my response that he just gave: ‘I want nothing … I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.'”
Trump is under renewed scrutiny over whether he used US military aid and a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as leverage to get Ukraine to announce investigations that could benefit Trump politically. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump was briefed in late August about the whistleblower complaint that centered on the July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Zelensky to pursue the investigations.
The new timeline suggests Trump was aware his dealings with Ukraine were under scrutiny before he started issuing denials that he sought something from Ukraine.
In addition to the September 9 call, other impeachment witnesses have recalled Sondland telling them about calls on September 1 and September 7 in which Trump told him he wanted no quid pro quo but did want Ukraine’s president to personally announce an investigation into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.
Sondland’s attorney, Robert Luskin, told The Post: “He is aware of your story and will not comment beyond his descriptions of these matters in his deposition and public testimony.”
“To the extent that the recollections of various witnesses differ in some respects, we leave to the committee the task of reconciling those differences,” he added.